Posted on: July 22, 2010 3:13 pm

Worrying about Lincecum

Tim Lincecum Lost in the hubbub of Tuesday's wacky, controversial Giants-Dodgers game was the performance of Tim Lincecum, a performance that has some wondering whether the Giants should shut him down.

Wait, what? Why would a team in a playoff race shut down a two-time defending Cy Young winner with great numbers (10-4, 3.18 ERA)?

Because Lincecum, according to those who watch him regularly, is showing signs that something is wrong. He didn't make it out of the fifth inning Tuesday, gave up five runs, struck out only two and threw a wild pitch straight up in the air.

Dave Cameron at fangraphs.com has been monitoring a steady decline in Lincecum's velocity. He used to regularly be in the 93-94 mph range, but Tuesday he averaged 89 and seemed to struggle badly with his control. He's still striking people out, but not at the rate he has the past two years, and his walks are up.

Lincecum's nickname is The Freak for a reason -- his delivery and training methods are extremely unusual. The general consensus going into the 2006 draft was, "Great stuff, but it's just a matter of time until the little guy's arm breaks off."

Pennant race or not, it might behoove the Giants to make sure their ace is completely healthy before risking any long-term issues.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 21, 2010 9:39 pm

Broxton should have faced Torres, officials say

Don Mattingly In Tuesday night's game, hitting coach Don Mattingly was standing in for manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer, who had been ejected from the game.

In the ninth inning, Mattingly visited pitcher Jonathan Broxton on the mound after walking Aubrey Huff. Mattingly then turned to go back to the bench before turning around to speak to first baseman James Loney, inadvertently making two trips to the mound even as home plate umpire Adrian Johnson yelled "No, no, no."

If a coach visits the mound for the same pitcher twice, the pitcher must be removed from the game, according to rule 8.06 (b). The umpires forced Broxton from the game, making George Sherrill come in and give up a two-run double to Andres Torres that won the game for the Giants.

However, the umpires erred in the ruling, league officials told the San Francisco Chronicle . There is an additional comment about the rule stating that if the manager makes two trips with the same batter at the plate, the manager must be ejected and the pitcher forced to face the batter before also being removed from the game.

This rule is in place to prevent a manager from getting a pitching matchup in his favor. If a new pitcher comes into the game, the opposing team is allowed to pinch-hit and the new pitcher must face the batter -- the manager who brought in the pitcher cannot bring in a new pitcher who may be better suited to getting the pinch-hitter out. The additional comment of rule 8.06 (b) of ejecting the manager (provided the manager has been warned about his possible ejection) and forcing the pitcher to face the batter is to ensure the defense's manager cannot pull such a tactic if a pinch-hitter is inserted.

Therefore, the umpires forced Broxton to face Torres, which the Dodgers certainly would have preferred instead of Sherrill having to come into the game. Mattingly, on the other hand, would have been allowed to remain in the game as there was not ample warning by the umpire as to the rule.

However, there is no recourse as the Dodgers did not lodge a protest as to the decision. The issue is over, and the umpires have been informed of the mistake.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 7:41 pm

At least four teams interested in Bautista

Jose Bautista Unsurprisingly, home-run leader Jose Bautista is drawing trade interest from multiple teams.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports that interest has been expressed by the Braves, Giants, Tigers and White Sox. All are in sore need of offense, and the versatile Bautista can play any outfield position as well as third base. While he doesn't have much experience at first and second, he has also appeared at those positions.

With 26 home runs, Bautista can bring serious punch to any offense willing to live with his .241 batting average backed up by an excellent .358 OBP. He is also tremendously affordable, making just $2.4 million in his third year of arbitration. He has one more year to go before becoming a free agent and will be in line for a massive pay raise, which is undoubtedly part of San Francisco's motivations.

SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Jays could be seeking middle infielders, with Emmanuel Burriss and Ehire Adrianza from the Giants drawing interest. It's unclear why Toronto would want middle infielders given they are pretty set with Aaron Hill and Yunel Escobar up the middle, but they don't have a ready-made long-term third baseman that one of these middle infielders could fill. Escobar has also been bandied about as someone who may eventually need to move to third.

Continuing the middle infield theme, the Braves could dangle All-Star utility infielder Omar Infante, who could stand to grab more playing time. They don't have a top prospect down the farm, although third baseman Mycal Jones is intriguing.

The Tigers have a sore spot in middle infield, so they wouldn't seem to be a fit there. In fact, Bautista would be leveraged to help fill the hole that was created by Brandon Inge's injury.

The White Sox have top prospect Gordon Beckham, but he's not moving unless for a major piece like Prince Fielder. Brent Morel or Dayan Viciedo -- both third basemen -- could be had, however.

It's certain that the Jays will also be on the hunt for an outfielder to replace Bautista as well as the biggest commodity in ball: pitching.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:22 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:38 pm

Wigginton drawing massive interest

Ty Wigginton Who knew that the market for versatile infielders could be plentiful?

Jose Lopez could be an option for the Tigers, Wes Helms has drawn interest from the Yankees and Rangers and other like-minded players are available as well, such as Jose Bautista and Jorge Cantu.

The player most bandied about at the trade deadline, however, has been Ty Wigginton of the Orioles. Incredibly versatile, Wiggy has had a strong season at the plate although he sandwiched a cold streak in between his raking. Virtually every team in contention has been linked to Wigginton, and AOL Fanhouse's Jeff Fletcher specifies three recent teams: the Giants, Rangers and Angels.

The Rangers are an unsurprising team, as they are on the hunt for a right-handed infielder and Wigginton is a logical fit. The Giants are more curious, as GM Brian Sabean is adamant he does not want to bring in a "rental" player. Wigginton is eligible to be a free agent after the season, but Sabean could be persuaded into Wigginton given he would cost less than players such as Jayson Werth.

Speaking of Werth, could the Phillies also be a candidate for Wigginton? If the rumors that Werth is headed out in favor for starting pitcher Roy Oswalt are true, that lineup will suddenly get very left-handed. Wiggy could be a jack-of-all-trades, primarily playing second base until Chase Utley returns from injury and then filling in all over. The two sides have already reportedly discussed Wigginton.

Back to Fletcher's other named team: the Angels. Los Angeles doesn't have much in the way of high-level prospects to deal and have already tried to get Alberto Callaspo from the Royals. While it's not clear if Baltimore would accept Sean O'Sullivan and an additional fringe prospect for Wigginton, you would think that the Angels would at least keep Wigginton in mind.

Another team that could use Wiggy is the Detroit Tigers, who lost Brandon Inge for over a month and already had a compromised shortstop conundrum.

And of course, the Yankees, as they are wont to do, have interest in everybody on the market including Wigginton. (Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports did say that the Yankees are focusing in on Helms and the Indians' Jhonny Peralta, as Wigginton's price is understandably high.)

The Rockies have also been linked to Wigginton as they seek to import a better second baseman than Clint Barmes.

The market for Wigginton is robust, and it's a near lock that he is traded clear to the deadline. The only question is: where? There are so many fits, it will all depend on which team is willing to give up the most.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 11:32 am

All kinds of Torre trouble

Joe Torre Dodgers manager Joe Torre is making news in a couple of situations where he wasn't even present.

He wasn't present in the late stages of the Dodgers' bizarre game Tuesday night against the Giants, getting the thumb in the seventh inning when the rivals' beanball war escalated after both benches had been warned.

Bench coach Bob Schaefer had been ejected earlier, so after Torre's departure managing duties fell to hitting coach Don Mattingly, who screwed up royally. Mattingly went out to the mound to visit struggling closer Jonathan Broxton, and after taking a few steps toward the dugout, doubled back to say something else to Broxton.

As Giants manager Bruce Bochy helpfully pointed out to umpires, that constituted two mound visits, and once you visit a pitcher twice in one inning, you have to pull him from the game. Broxton was out, George Sherrill suddenly had to enter the game, and he and Travis Schlichting blew up as the Giants took a 7-5 comeback win.

Meanwhile, announcer Tim McCarver, who you might know is prone to a tiny bit of hyperbole, was apologizing for comments about Torre that earned him a scolding from the Anti-Defamation League.

What? All McCarver did was look at the Yankees' treatment of Torre, their former longtime manager, and compare the team to Nazis.
"You remember some of those despotic leaders in World War II, primarily in Russia and Germany, where they used to take those pictures that they had ... taken of former generals who were no longer alive, they had shot 'em," McCarver said during a Saturday broadcast. "They would airbrush the pictures, and airbrushed the generals out of the pictures. In a sense, that's what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre. They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there's no sign of Joe Torre at the [New Yankee] Stadium. And, that's ridiculous. I don't understand it."
McCarver, never the apologizing type, sort of apologized Monday: "Although my analogy was inappropriate, in my opinion the underlying point remains true," McCarver told the New York Daily News.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2010 11:29 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 5:20 pm

Report: Phils eyeing Oswalt, try to ship Werth

Jayson Werth Earlier today, we learned that the Phillies may make a deal for a starting pitcher who could then take the rotation spot vacated by Kyle Kendrick on Saturday.

Now, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Phillies are working on a "major deal" for a starting pitcher. Jayson Werth would be moved in another deal, likely to offset the salary Philadelphia would absorb in the acquisition of the starter. Coworker Buster Olney concurs, saying that Roy Oswalt is a logical fit.

The two starting pitchers on the market that could qualify as a major acquisition are Oswalt and Dan Haren, but Oswalt is far easier to pry. Plus, as Olney says, the Phillies have not discussed Haren, Ben Sheets (who has been linked to Philadelphia before) or any of the Rays pitchers. The Rays have been linked to Werth as they seek a major upgrade with the bat.

All that makes Oswalt the most likely name to be headed to Philly, especially given Oswalt's next start is -- surprise, surprise -- Saturday.

Complicating things is that Oswalt has a full no-trade clause and may want to be convinced by the Phillies that they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. The Phillies may also be forced to pick up the $16 million club option for 2012, although Oswalt may not make that part of his demands. AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price reports the Astros are very close to putting the deal before Oswalt for a decision.

As for where Werth could go, that's not as obvious. Here are some candidates:
  • Braves: The Braves are thought to be 50/50 on adding another outfielder as Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports . If Nate McLouth can return from his concussion at full strength, the Braves would be fine given a hot Matt Diaz and the return of Jason Heyward. Complicating matters is that the Braves are a division rival, although Atlanta has young pitching Philadelphia undoubtedly covets.
  • Giants: The Giants are looking for a big bat, but GM Brian Sabean has been adamant that he will not acquire any rental players. Could the chance to get Werth change his mind for a suddenly streaking team who is now tied for second place, 3 1/2 behind the Padres? The Giants could move Jonathan Sanchez to Philadelphia or a stable of prospects. The Phillies will certainly have a desire to restock its farm system.
  • Padres: The division-leading Pads of the West have made no secret of their desire for Corey Hart. They can only wait so long, however, and Werth is not a bad consolation prize at all and could even be considered better than Hart, as the Philly right fielder is a five-tool player. It's unclear what pitching the Pads could possibly cough up, though, especially with Mat Latos on the DL. While they have some intriguing pieces down the farm, there are none that jump out.
  • Rays: The Rays have been seeking a big bat for quite a while, and Werth would certainly be that bat. They have a ton of pitching to deal along with prospects and could match up perfectly, with the Phillies spinning some prospects to Houston by way of Tampa. The Rays could give up Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson, as well as no shortage of position player prospects -- especially shortstop, where Houston might love to plug in Reid Brignac or add Tim Beckham to its farm. Olney and Stark both heard the Rays are involved in discussions with Werth, although that doesn't necessarily mean they're the front-runner.
  • Red Sox: The Red Sox could certainly use a big thumper, but the team is about to have a plethora of injured players return, one of which is an outfielder. While Jeremy Hermida doesn't make anyone quake in their boots, their outfield production has been surprisingly effective. They have inquired as to David DeJesus but find the price prohibitive, according to the Boston Globe 's Nick Cafardo. Cafardo also reports that Hart's price is too expensive, so imagine what Werth's price would be to them.
  • White Sox: The ChiSox have been hungry for Adam Dunn, but the Nationals aren't budging on an exorbitant price. A scout says that the Nationals are acting as if Dunn is like Ryan Howard -- which is not all that far off an actual comparison. Bottom line, if Dunn doesn't happen, you can't count Kenny Williams out of a deal for Werth. If Williams made Chicago's farm system available for Dunn, wouldn't it be so for Werth?
  • Yankees: The Yankees are miffed that they missed out on Cliff Lee, and despite their sudden need for a starting pitcher with the Andy Pettitte injury, certainly wouldn't turn down adding a bat to an outfield that needs it. It's unlikely Jesus Montero would be swapped, but they have enough complementary prospects to make a deal happen -- but not to the level as other teams on the list.
You can't have trade rumors without a dark horse, though.

My surprise team? The Athletics.

Think about it: They have no interest in trading Ben Sheets, which has to count for something. Then you have the team 8 1/2 games out of first but very much still in the hunt. They lost Ryan Sweeney for the year and need a stick in the middle of the order -- even when they had Sweeney. And of course, they'll recoup draft picks if/when Werth leaves as a free agent.

It'll certainly be an interesting storyline to follow.

UPDATE : And the Phillies may have just lost a little leverage. Starter Jamie Moyer left Tuesday's game with an injury and the latest report from Todd Zolecki has the lefty headed to the disabled list. Manager Charlie Manuel compared the injury to J.A. Happ's, who took over three months to get back on a mound. Ironically enough, Moyer's replacement will likely be Happ.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 15, 2010 9:18 pm

Royals scouting Giants-Mets game

David DeJesus San Francisco Chronicle Giants beat writer Henry Schulman tweets the Royals' top talent evaluator is at AT&T Park for tonight's Mets-Giants game.

The Giants need a bat and the Royals' David DeJesus is available, so…

DeJesus is hitting .326/.395/.450 with five home runs and 36 RBI. He would be an instant upgrade on current center fielder Aaron Rowand, who is hitting .238/.281/.400 with eight home runs and 27 RBI.

DeJesus is owed the remainder of his $4.7 million salary this season and has a team option for a very affordable $6 million for 2011 or a $500,000 buyout. That means he won't be cheap in prospects for the Giants -- or anyone else looking for an outfielder.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: July 15, 2010 7:23 pm

Giants sign Willis to minor-league deal

Dontrelle Willis has signed a minor-league contract with the Giants, according to the team's official Twitter feed . Willis will play for Triple-A Fresno.

The left-hander was released by the Diamondbacks on July 6. He was traded to Arizona from Detroit on June 1 for starter Billy Buckner.

The one-time ace was 2-3 with a 5.62 ERA between the two teams this season, walking 56 batters in 65 2/3 innings.

Willis is a Bay Area native and still has enough talent for a no-risk minor league contract.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com